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Can EMR Save You Money?

A frequent discussion among colleagues, especially if they are in the same group, is whether or not a practice will ever realize a return on their investment in an EMR system. piggy-bank.jpg Of course, this is beside the point that the government is mandating the use of EMR by within the next ten years. While hospitals and larger clinics have already done the number crunching, and believe that EMR systems will more than pay for themselves, it may be more difficult for the average-sized practice to calculate their savings.

Nevertheless, an article on Software Advice offers some more reasons to consider making the switch to paperless, including

1. Savings on chart pulling costs. Several studies have calculated that it can cost as much as $4 to pull or create a paper chart. Beth Israel Hospital in Boston estimates it can save as much as $6 million annually.
2. Reduction in malpractice insurance premiums. For example, Midwest Medical Insurance Company is offering its clients a 2-5% credit for using an EMR system.
3. Enhance reimbursement by eliminating downcoding. Since most physicians aren’t especially confident about coding visits, most will err on the side of under-billing. EMR templates can help justify proper coding – the difference can be significant.
4. Pay for Performance (P4P), or as we like to call it, “Performance for Pay”. Physicians can get a bonus for submitting quality-control guidelines for managing certain chronic diseases. EMR systems can help streamline the process and ensure these guidelines are met.
5. Subsidizing of EMR systems. Depending on your specialty and location, local hospitals or labs may be willing to subsidize a significant portion of the implementation costs associated with EMR. In addition, this relationship has been given an exemption from Stark and anti-kickback legislation.

So, if you happen to be the evangelist for the adoption of EMR for your practice, it helps to be armed with some useful information when confronting the naysayers.

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